During my walks, I like to stop at the park for some crunches on the swing set. Ten or fifteen minutes generally does the trick. I get to feel the thrill of heights and the wind in my hair and get to burn some calories like I’m a kid again.
Today, a little boy, maybe 6 or 7, was using the swing next to the open one, and as I approached, before I could even sit down, he was calling out his introductions.
“Hi! What’s your name?”
“That’s my mom. Her name is Jennifer too. And that’s my little brother.”
“Hello. Beautiful day.”
“I have two brothers.”
“Really? I don’t have any brothers.”
“No, but I have a sister. She has a little boy about your age, and he has two brothers AND a sister.”
And then came the awkward moment when he wanted me to be friends with his parents. And, of course, adults do not generally make new friends with a stranger on a swing set having a conversation with their child. We just stared at each other, finally uttering “nice to meet you” or some other innocuous greeting.
Eventually, they moved on to the jungle gym, and the boy smiled and waved goodbye. When did we adults become so closed off and afraid of each other?